Don’t get me wrong; “White Supremacy” and the cretins who ascribe to its flawed ethos are simply awful and unforgivable in every regard, but there is a downside to censoring these voices.
I believe the idea is best summed up in the phrase: Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
That is to say that exposing the evils of the world to the greater, less-heinous world at large is the most thorough and penetrating way to deal with such villainous scum. We, as a society can then choose to shun them again, confront them, ridicule them, or perhaps even try to reform them.
When they are scuttled away into hiding is when the most damage occurs. Remember, without the sunlight of the public purview, there is no way to curb the growth of these ideas. They fester away in smaller holes, brewing into something so hideous, so unlike anything that we’ve ever seen before, that we are unable to recognize the threat in time to neutralize it.
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When we banish the white supremacists back to their hovels, they simply reemerge in some formerly unheard of fashion, preying on the oblivious and disaffected youth.
Also, by treating these monsters as a real threat, some of the more militant members of this fringe philosophy will regard themselves as somehow validated.
“If the boogeyman exists, then why can’t I see him?”
This isn’t the only concern with Twitter’s coming attempts to curb white supremacy on its platform either, as one unnamed employee told MotherBoard.
In separate discussions verified by Motherboard, that employee said Twitter hasn’t taken the same aggressive approach to white supremacist content because the collateral accounts that are impacted can, in some instances, be Republican politicians.
The employee argued that, on a technical level, content from Republican politicians could get swept up by algorithms aggressively removing white supremacist material. Banning politicians wouldn’t be accepted by society as a trade-off for flagging all of the white supremacist propaganda, he argued.
There is no indication that this position is an official policy of Twitter, and the company told Motherboard that this “is not [an] accurate characterization of our policies or enforcement—on any level.” But the Twitter employee’s comments highlight the sometimes overlooked debate within the moderation of tech platforms: are moderation issues purely technical and algorithmic, or do societal norms play a greater role than some may acknowledge?
And, as Sun Tzu said in The Art of War:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
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